Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes reports that the Angels, Twins, Rangers, Rays, and Blue Jays are among “at least five teams” to express interest in Manny Ramirez, which is a surprise given how little speculation has surrounded him publicly throughout the offseason.
Rojas writes that Ramirez has been training in Arizona in an effort to show he can still be used in left field in addition to designated hitter. Or as Google amusingly translates Rojas’ story from Spanish to English: Ramirez is preparing “to work in the gardens if necessary.”
Garden work or not, Ramirez will likely need to wait until Jim Thome chooses a home for 2011, because the Twins and Rangers are said to be bidding on Thome and he’s the biggest DH domino to fall in front of guys like Ramirez, Vladimir Guerrero, and Johnny Damon.
Ramirez was a non-factor for the White Sox down the stretch after they claimed him off waivers from the Dodgers, but still hit .298 with a .409 on-base percentage and .460 slugging percentage in 90 games overall last season, which is good for an .870 OPS that ranked 10th among all outfielders and designated hitters with 300 or more plate appearances.
UPDATE: You can cross the Twins off the Ramirez list, as they’ve re-signed Thome. And now that everyone’s top DH target is off the market, interest in Guerrero and Ramirez should pick up.
Video: Undercover David Ortiz drives a Lyft in Boston
David Ortiz did one of those “Undercover Lyft” spots for, well, Lyft, in which famous people disguise themselves while driving passengers around. Yes, they’re ads, but they’re still pretty funny. At least this one was.
Best parts: (1) the woman who says she has two David Ortiz shirts to which Undercover Ortiz responds, “actually, all my shirts are his shirts”; and (2) when Ortiz agrees with someone that baseball games are “so loooong.” Oh, and at one point he tells a woman who said she was going to the Red Sox game that night that he was too. After he unmasked himself, she explains his own joke to him. Which, ooohhkay.
In other news, people who take Lyfts in Boston either don’t watch much baseball, because Ortiz’s costume is NOT very concealing, or else they simply don’t look at their Lyft driver while in the car, at all.
Scouting in Venezuela: “Someone is going to get killed. It’s just a matter of time”
Ben Badler of Baseball America has a story about how major league scouts who cover Venezuela are unhappy with the rules imposed upon them by the league. Rules, they say, which unreasonably prohibit them from scouting Venezuelan players in centralized, team-controlled locations or, alternatively, flying them to team facilities in the Dominican Republic or elsewhere.
The result: international scouts are forced to travel all over Venezuela to evaluate prospect. And, given how destabilized and dangerous Venezuela has become, they believe their safety is at risk:
“MLB’s rules that limit our ability to travel a Venezuelan guy to the Dominican Republic, that limit our ability to get them in a complex at different ages, all these rules are solely contributing to the risks that all of us are taking traveling from complex to complex, facility to facility in the streets,” said one international director. “Someone is going to get killed. It’s just a matter of time, and it’s on MLB when it happens, because they’re the ones who created these rules.”
As Badler notes, Major League Baseball itself has moved its annual national showcase out of the country due to safety concerns. It will not, however, relax scouting rules — which seem arbitrary on their surface in the first place — in order to make the job of international scouts safer.
It seems that Rob Manfred and the league owe their employees better than this. Or at the very least owe them an explanation why they don’t think they do.